Two cougars in Santa Monica Mountains dead – at least one ate rat poison

In a sad announcement posted on the Facebook page for the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area on Tuesday, two cougars have been found dead; a six-year-old male known at P-30 ate rat poison, according to the National Park Service.

“P-30 was re-captured in February 2018 and given a new GPS collar. He is one of the more notable mountain lions of the study because he was the first male lion kitten to have been marked at the den and then to have survived long enough in the Santa Monica Mountains to reach adulthood and establish a home range.”

The cause of death for the  four-year-old female identified at P-53 has not been verified because her remains were too decomposed, however similar poisons were also found following a necropsy. These same rodent poisons have been found in 23 of the 24 mountain lions tested, including a three-month-old kitten. That would mean nearly every mountain lion tested has been exposed to the toxins – often at a very high level.

The press release from the National Parks Service documented he suffered severe hemorrhaging in his brain and abdominal cavity. Approximately five liters of unclotted blood was found in his abdomen.

“A wide range of predators can be exposed to these toxicants – everything from hawks and owls to bobcats, coyotes, foxes and mountain lions. Even if they don’t die directly from the anticoagulant effects, our research has shown the bobcats, for example, are suffering significant immune system impacts.”

(Photos via Santa Monica Mountain National Recreation Area)

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